In the corners of the Detroit Auto Show where luxury-brand cars were carpeted in lush, those four-wheeled vehicles have been replaced with new winged machines intended to raise the bar for road mobility as cars and trucks travel.
There’s a small orange two-seater vertical takeoff and landing, another compact two-seat plane that doesn’t require a full pilot’s license and a large vertical takeoff and landing vehicle that can serve as anything from an air taxi to an ambulance.
It is further evidence of the evolution of what was once one of the largest and most prestigious international auto shows where dozens of automakers came to unveil important and revolutionary new models and vehicles.
But the combination of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused what is officially known as the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to take a three-year hiatus and reveals the ability of automakers to skip expensive product in favor of offering products made online or at least during the year. Expensive places.
Results? Fewer automakers are displaying their wares at the auto show, leaving room for other ways to get around. In this case, companies operating in the air transport industry are rapidly growing.
Detroit-based Airspace Experience Technologies, or ASX, has an area of land and airspace next to a subaru bound for Earth, where it demonstrates an electric vertical take-off and landing, or eVTOL, a type of Swiss Army knife that could be fitted with With a variety of units for different purposes while solving an ancient urban problem.
“We can move medical aircraft, cargo, and passengers, between cities, airports, and suburbs using clean, quiet, and connected air transportation systems,” said John Reminilli, ASX CEO and Co-Founder. “What we’ve effectively done is we’ve taken the currently available electric vehicle technologies, the motors, the controllers, the batteries, and basically used them for a proof-of-concept aircraft, a technological demonstrator if you want to sort of lighten the load on the road. Traffic congestion on the road has become unbearable. in many urban centers around the world and we have to do something.”
Across the floor are two small but completely different planes sitting side by side from Israel-based Air and Icon based in Vacaville, California. But the common denominator between them is to open the atmosphere for anyone who wants the same fun as a driver who enjoys the ride just for the sake of it.
In fact, when the company was founded about a decade ago, that was its primary goal, says Noah Collins, Icon’s senior director of global sales and services, telling Forbes.com,Ission to democratize personal flight and 3D navigation by building a consumer-friendly, safe and technologically advanced aircraft to unlock the adventure of flying.”
To do this, Icon has created what it calls a “sports aircraft” that is lightweight, thanks to its carbon structure, can be folded small enough to fit a trailer, take off and land on land or water, and most importantly, it doesn’t require a full pilot’s license to operate it. The plane also runs on jet fuel and the same motorists pump gasoline into their cars.
Icon scheduled to deliver 161Street Plane next week for a client in Connecticut. Orders are taken online but don’t expect delivery until around June 2023. what is the price? The base model is $379,000, and the upgraded version costs $404,000. A paint job or special paint will cost you an additional $15,000.
Nearby in Air, the little bright orange plane is a different animal. The two-seater eVTOL improves on similar levels because it’s less complex, says Rani Plaut, CEO and co-founder. Most aircraft powered by rotary engines require one system for lift and one for forward movement. Airplane uses only one system for both.
According to Plaut, the two-seater electric plane can fly 60-100 miles.
Like the Icon planes, the Air’s won’t need a full pilot’s license and Plaut stresses that its computerized system actually makes it as easy to fly as driving a car.
“A driver can be anyone. A driver is a car owner, and a pilot is someone who is highly skilled. This solves it because you’re driving a computerized vehicle that takes care of most emergencies and most problems. So you’re flying in an envelope of software that keeps you out of trouble. It keeps the thing stable.” “It’s like riding and a very, very, very trained mare,” Plott said.
The company has received orders for 220 planes, 160 of which are from US customers, but they will all have to wait to take one home until around 2024 when Plaut expects the plane to receive certification.
Sure, it’s different for a car show, but this auto show is a different animal, even taking to the streets of Detroit where show-goers can drive and stare at a 61-foot inflatable duck. It’s a pocket thing.
ASX’s John Reminilli appreciates the opportunity to show off his company’s planes and capabilities to a hometown crowd, but he also believes the Detroit Automobile Dealers Association, which is organizing the show, is doing the right thing, saying, “People want the ride and drive experience, pretty soon you’ll be able to ride and fly.” It’s an opportunity to show people what’s coming.”
“It’s exciting to see where the future lies,” says Noah Collins of Icon.
We’ll leave the last word, eloquently, to Air’s Rani Plott who stated, “At the end of the day, transportation is so immersive in our lives and shouldn’t be shown like in an aquarium. The auto industry took off its tie and put on a shirt.”